Sidmouth to lose EDDC ‘within three years’?

EDDC chiefs say they will carefully ensure that Knowle is sold ‘for the most suitable type of redevelopment.’

EAST Devon District Council (EDDC) could leave Sidmouth for a purpose-built home in Honiton within three years.

But a final decision will depend on whether ‘the right price’ is offered for the authority’s existing Knowle headquarters.

EDDC chiefs say they will carefully ensure that Knowle is sold ‘for the most suitable type of redevelopment.’

The Herald reported last week how Sidmouth’s biggest employer is ‘seriously considering’ moving from the town to a new purpose-built office block on the council’s former waste disposal site at Heathpark Industrial Estate, Honiton.

Staff would also be working at Exmouth’s town hall.

EDDC’s principal estates surveyor Donna Best says the move would save the expense of purchasing land and the aim is also to provide ‘a better service for residents’ in a more central location.

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Council bosses also claim the move would be ‘cost neutral’, slash overheads, create a smaller carbon footprint and be closer the new community of Cranbrook.

Councillor Paul Diviani, EDDC leader, said: “We are committed to modern working practices fit for the 21st Century.

“We need to find alternatives for our current premises, which are not suitable for the efficient delivery of the high-quality services we and our residents expect to see.

“We are in the process of completely overhauling the way we work and this is one strand of that work.

“The main thrust is our administration needs to be more centrally located, and we will be looking to deliver many of our services more locally.

“Obvious examples of that are Honiton, with its central location and excellent transport infrastructure, and Exmouth, Devon’s largest town.”

An EDDC spokesperson added: “A final decision on any move will depend on the right price being offered for the Knowle site and the new building at Honiton being cost-effective to build and maintain.”

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